Philanthropy Fuels Nursing Specialties

This 2020 story from our Asbury Foundation FOCUS Magazine archives is one of many inspiring stories sharing the actions of our donor family.

At the heart of Asbury Foundation’s mission is the forging of relationships that enrich the lives of residents and associates at the communities we serve. At Bethany Village in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, this “forging of relationships” has recently helped create a scholarship fund and a healing garden, both honoring the late Bethany Village resident Marian Dornell.

Marian was often known as “Nurse Marian.” Tenacious and committed to all she did, she was a dedicated wife and mother of five children, and at the age of 42 graduated at the top of her nursing class. Her passion lay in hospice nursing. She possessed the special combination of tenderness and toughness that it takes to support and care for patients needing end of life care. Nursing was not just an occupation to Marian; it was part of who she was.

She committed herself to a new generation of nurses through her active engagement on the Bethany Village Nursing Grant Committee, ensuring that those with a desire to pursue a nursing career received a helping hand. Following Marian’s passing in 2019, her daughter Lisa Dornell Suggs contacted Asbury Foundation about honoring her mother. Marian’s children wanted to set up a scholarship fund that would help support the education of Bethany Village associates seeking a career in hospice nursing and end of life care.

With the family’s support, Asbury Foundation has established the Marian Cannon Dornell Scholarship Fund. The impact of Marian’s life extends beyond the scholarship fund; it inspired the creation of a healing garden outside The Oaks Skilled Nursing. Bethany Village resident Margee Kooistra, a dear friend of Marian’s, regularly visited during Marian’s stay in The Oaks and noticed an underused flowerbed outside her room. Following Marian’s passing, Margee and other members of the Bethany Village ecology group decided to revitalize the flower bed as a way to honor Marian.

With support from Asbury Foundation, the Bethany Village Ecology Group raised the funds to have six trees planted and place several garden sculptures in the newly designated healing garden. The group also plans to add a pollinator garden. Just as Marian’s work as a nurse brought peace and comfort, the healing garden will serve as a place of peace, comfort and hope for others. Through the forging of relationships, the legacy of “Nurse Marian” will live on at Bethany Village.

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